"Come on, Fayruz. Come and see what else I have got for you." She is ten today. The age when children have faces most beautiful, not babies any more, not vacancy of adolescence.
"Is it up here?" she say, opening all the doors to our seven bedrooms. She is so sweet, so pretty. With mischief. That laugh of hers. Everyone love her. "Is it downstairs?" She is like her cat, Pilau, as she pads down the stairs, looking this way and that, checking the great oil paintings of all four of us, to see if another one has been hung in the night. Now she flits through our Haywards Heath house, she is nearly in flight like the painted birds on the vases. She make the rugs on the walls flutter, even the heavy crimson curtains in the Persian Room sway in her breeze. There she goes, through the Mosaic Room, all its red and gold glinting, little chunks of jewel, beautiful in the October sunshine. Now through into the Gold Room with its velvet curtains, draped across the walls, gold treasures and gilt frames everywhere. And on into her special Turquoise Room where she twirls like the fishes that swim in here.
Off she goes. Watch her now, swinging round one of the marble pillars that is surrounding our indoor swimming pool. "I know, daddy. It's outside."
"You are very warm now." She is taking my hand as I lead her through the garden, past the greenhouse where the lemons and grapes grow, over to the area that has been off-limits since Ali and his family prepare it for this day. "Close your eyes," I say as we pass through the arch.
"There. Now you can open them."
She is awestruck.
Oh, it is the rest of the garden in miniature, let me tell you. Every flower and fruit you can imagine, fig tree, roses like you've gone to heaven, there is fountain to sprinkle yourself cool. Statues, fish. There is peacocks, just like Hassan, bright feathers on display. You hear them miaowing. Always they miaow, it is sad sound. Not sad, piercing. Haunting. Yes, that is the word.
"Now you have your own little birthday garden, sweet Fayruz."